Neil Bromage has run his own small business and is a freelance business writer working on a range of newspapers including The Times, Sunday Times, Telegraph and Financial Mail on Sunday. This book is based on a wide range of columns and Q&As written and answered by Neil for Business Link over a number of years. He is based near Preston, Lancs.
The Internet revolution has begun and many firms are being swept along in its wake. Yet many businesses still don’t understand how they can benefit from a website and a presence on the World Wide Web.
Most people who use the net on a regular basis will probably say that it has dramatically changed the way they work, and it is having a similar effect on the business world. This means that it has to be treated seriously and given the same respect and levels of investment as any other important corporate tool or machinery.
Businesses wishing to adopt a successful approach to e-commerce will embrace it with flair, creativity and customer focus. But in order to achieve this it is necessary to invest in thorough staff training in Internet-related applications. If staff are unprepared and lack the necessary skills to carry out e-business procedures the strategy of the whole business will collapse.
Business to business e-commerce is actually growing at a much greater pace than the business to consumer sector and this is likely to continue for some time as more and more businesses switch on to its benefits. Businesses need to be aware that once their website goes live it is there for the whole world to see. The size of the business is irrelevant. Speed is often what counts in the new economy. This can mean speed to market but is more likely to mean speed of response to enquiry and fulfilment of orders.
Businesses can grow very quickly using the Internet as their shop window but not all companies will benefit from it. Merely having a website will not guarantee success as this must be backed up with systems, be they manual or technical, which can cope with the demands which will be placed on them by individual expectations of the Internet.